Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mr. Watson, Come Here

Mr. Watson--come here--I want to see you.
The first intelligible words spoken over the telephone. Too bad that there are not many intelligible words regarding our very own Mr. Watson--County Commissioner Stan Watson. Bell's utterance was reportedly about spilled battery acid but the feds are calling after Stan because he seems to have spent some quality time with some unsavory characters who now find themselves in federal court facing corruption charges. The allegations (they are just allegations--for now) implicate our Commissioner in a payola scheme.

But Stan has long been estranged from exemplary behavior. He is one of the most egregious (ab)users of County P-Cards currently in office though he faces some severe competition. Stan is known for using his P-Card to fund his private cell phone service all the while retaining his County-funded cell phone. Perhaps he uses that for a "burner phone." Or perhaps he thought using his personal phone meant that his personal phone records would remain personal in spite of his "I use it for county bidness" rationalization. Turns out that line of reasoning isn't to be confused with logic. He became entangled in the AJC's investigation of P-Card (ab)use drawing their attention not just because of the overall amount P-Card spending but also because of his rather large phone bills. The AJC logic of "if the public pays then it is public record" prevailed making his call detail records subject to open record requests.


Ultimately he handed them over to the AJC, but he self-redacted calls related to the federal case underway in South Carolina. This is probably because he had previously denied, on the record, having any unsavory relations with the defendants in that case. Or...well...maybe.

It gets better.

He used a non-so-black marker to redact the incriminating call records made all the more incriminating because he felt so compelled to obscure them. Not only did he miss a few entries the marker he used did not effectively blot out those embarrassing stains and the AJC was able to recover the call information.

We don't need to call for "Watson" nor do we need a lot of words to describe what is going on in this county. We only need one.